SUSHI ROXX: The Dining-Nightclub Hybrid That NYC Has Always Wanted

August 12, 2015 6:00 AM

Looking for something fun to do other than the usual dinner date? Make a reservation at the newly opened SUSHI ROXX and you won’t be disappointed. By Carly Petrone.

(credit: Andrew Werner)

(credit: Andrew Werner)

Step into SUSHI ROXX inside The Tuscany Hotel and you’ll immediately feel transformed to another world. That world is somewhere between the high energy of a Las Vegas nightclub and the bustling streets of Tokyo. From the ornate golden wallpaper to the red lighting and Japanese-inspired artwork, diners certainly have something fun and entertaining to look at before they even sit down to eat.

(credit: Andrew Fitzsimons)

(credit: Andrew Fitzsimons)

When you’re craving sushi but in the mood for a little more, SUSHI ROXX is the perfect answer. Start your evening out at the bar beside the lobby of the hotel and sip on a variety of fun cocktails (all $15) created by Gary Wallach. The Cobra Kai is a popular choice – it’s made with Grey Goose vodka, mezcal, watermelon, pink peppercorn, lime, Shiso leaf, and lime fresco salt. If you’re out with a large group, opt for the large format (as in a bowl of booze). It’ll cost you $150 but with fun drinks like the Hell-No Kitty (Tigre Blanc vodka, peach, honey, lemon, sparkling wine, Boston bitters) and the Flying Panda (Patron Silver tequila, burnt orange, grapefruit, pineapple cordial, lime, sparkling water, and Peychaud’s bitters), it just might be the best way to get the party started.

(credit: Andrew Fitzsimons)

(credit: Andrew Fitzsimons)

Speaking of getting the party started, you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on your server because each person on the wait staff is a trained dancer, actor, or singer. In between courses they’ll sing covers of some of today’s top 40 hits and perform choreographed dances that will leave you wanting more. They’re not afraid of getting up close and personal, performing directly next to your table as an ensemble or twirling behind you as a duet. Former Pussycat Doll herself, Asia Nitollano, creates the productions, which rotate every three months in order to keep it fresh. Their current show, titled “POP ROXX,” will run through the end of September.

As the night goes on, you may forget that you’re actually at a sushi restaurant. Chef Edwin Purnomo is busy serving up an impressive menu of both sushi and traditional Japanese specialties with a twist like Miso Salmon ($32) with Sweet Pea Puree and Crispy Leeks and the decadent Shitake Polenta ($22) with Maitake, Enoki, and Gorgonzola Dolce. Stand out sushi rolls include the Godzilla ($16) – spicy tuna, cucumber, snow crab, mango, crunch, and aioili – as well as the Roxxy ($17) – rock shrimp tempura, aioli, spicy tuna, and pickled jalapeno. Definitely don’t miss out on the Wild Ginger Edamame and Tuna Flatbread with avocado, caviar, and aioli to start. The Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice is their version of fried rice that you’ll want to keep at the table as long as possible since it’s slightly addicting.

(credit: SUSHI ROXX)

(credit: SUSHI ROXX)

When it comes to the menu, co-owner Jason Apfelbaum is pretty proud of it. “The items on the menu are all like children to me but if I had to choose my favorites they would be the Wild Ginger Edamame, Tuna Flatbread Pizza, the Roxxy Roll, and last but not least our Sticky Toffee Cupcake.” The Molten Sticky Toffee Cupcake Apfelbaum Apfelbaum’s referring to is the star of the dessert menu as it comes with cream cheese frosting and amaretto crunch gelato. The Miso Valrhona Chocolate Dome with chocolate crumbs and vanilla gelato is an excellent rival for first prize, although the Green Tea Crème Brulee with pistachio cannoli is another tasty option for those looking for a non-chocolate option.

Everything about the SUSHI ROXX experience sends your senses into overload. From the images on the big screen that appear while DJ Mocalicious spins mash-up hits to the giant 30-foot dragon that weaves in and out of the wall over a 20 seat banquet, there’s always something to keep you entertained. The giant sumo wrestler that reigns over the restaurant isn’t the only thing grabbing peoples’ attention. Fashion designer Betsey Johnson was brought on board to create each individual uniform for the members of the friendly staff.

(credit: Andrew Werner)

(credit: Andrew Werner)

But what started this crazy idea? Apfelbaum knew that guests would love the idea of a heightened dinner theater experience: “SUSHI ROXX has been a dream in my head for many years. The dream was to immerse guests within a music video while serving incredible gourmet cuisine and a seasonal fresh cocktail program. The end product has turned out to be beyond my wildest expectations.”

The best part about SUSHI ROXX is you never know what the night will bring. In fact, Apfelbaum regularly hears from diners as he makes the rounds across the room to check in on his guests. Recently, one diner said “I have traveled all over the world and there is nothing like this. This is F&#’ing ridiculous.” This not only puts a smile on his face but it validates what he wants to bring to not only New York, but the rest of the world: “When my dream becomes theirs…it doesn’t get any better than that. New York City was ready for ROXX…and it’s just the start. We have plans to bring the dream to London, Vegas, and Los Angeles. Wake me up when we arrive.”

So grab some shut eye and come prepared for a dining experience you’ll never forget.

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Carly Petrone is a freelance writer living in New York City.